An Essay in Memory of Princess Diana
A Homily in Memory of Princess Diana
People's response to the tragedy of Princess Diana was really an astonishing, attracting the largest number of people in history to see a funeral. Who was she that the outpouring of grief was throughout the world? A princess of the British monarchy? Ironically, from the perspective of the Windsor royal family she was no more than a divorcee striped off the royal title. However, she had qualities that distinguished her as the "queen of people's heart." Princess Diana was a unique person in her appearance, in her privileges, and in her influence. She was a princess with a serving heart. Her royal heart went out to the underprivileged, and her noble hands of charity touched the untouchable. In addition to her Charity Work, I admired the way she maintained an intimate relationship with people in the shadow.
Surely there was a reason to feel sorrow over the loss of such a celebrity. But what was the feeling shared deep down in their heart? What came with the outpouring grief was the shattering of the worldly philosophy of happiness. For those who had grown their princess dream, an upward wish, Princess Diana represented the incarnation of that dream. Here was a woman who achieved the princess dream, only to be killed by achieving what she had sought. This explains the mixed feeling of the sorrow. As a woman writer pointedly expressed it, a great number of people—especially women—felt their own princess dream buried while watching the funeral service of Princess Diana.
One of possible homiletic topics in memory of Princess Diana is "What is irreplaceable in life?" Because of her privileges she was considered to be among happiest woman. Was she? Here was Princess Diana, a woman of fame, yet a woman of loneliness, A beautiful wife without her husband’s love. Here was a princess most envied by all women, yet finding herself in a desperate pursuit of happiness. A woman who left her husband and her palace to escape loneliness. A woman who found her new prince and killed in the process.
It was midnight at the start of Sunday. But with Dodi Fayed's ring on her finger, riding in a gilt carriage—and perhaps a guilty carriage for the mother of the future king of England—she was there as his companion on the way to his apartment. At the seat of her rich friend’s carriage, Princess Diana was going through that shadowed valley, where she could find no guard to protect her at the crisis.
Dodi Fayed appeared to be a provider of the easy life, but with his fast life, bad debts and abandoned California fiancees, he was not known as a man of noble character. Instead of his ring, the symbol of the earthly value, Princess Diana could have set her mind on a higher value. Then she might not have exchanged what was irreplaceable for what was replaceable. And it is here that John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress reminds us that the inheritors of the Heavenly Kingdom set the highest on final victory. A princess dream may be shattered on this earth, but we have hope. Our hope is the Crown of Victory we are entitled in the Kingdom of God. To this hope we invite those whose hearts are open to spiritual issues in memory of Princess Diana.
© This article was first published by the SEMI as first published by the SEMI on September 28, 1998. The SEMI is a periodical for the community of Fuller Theological Seminary.
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